WASHINGTON – Colorado Gov. Jared Polis emphasized the importance of affordable health care and protecting the state’s public lands last week during the National Governors Association’s annual winter meeting in Washington, D.C.
Polis was sworn in as Colorado’s 43rd governor in January. Before taking office, he was a five-term U.S. congressman from Boulder.
“It’s only been a month and a half. It feels like a year and half. We’ve had everything from a Denver teacher strike to a blizzard, and amidst all that, we’ve had to put together our team,” Polis said in an interview with The Durango Herald.
Polis said he’s thankful for the change of pace as a governor and to be spending his time back in Colorado.
“It’s wonderful to have that day-to-day responsibility and to be able to help set the agenda and execute rather than just debate things endlessly as Congress often does,” Polis said.
Polis emphasized his platform of affordable health care, free full-day kindergarten and protecting Colorado’s public lands. He highlighted the work his administration has already started with regard to tackling the high cost of health care for Coloradans.
Shortly after his inauguration, Polis set up an office led by Lt. Gov. Dianne Primavera to address the rising costs of health care in Colorado. Established through executive action, the office is focused on creating an affordable health care system for all Coloradans.
“One of our first actions was to set up the Office of Saving People Money on Health Care to be an advocate for cost reduction across all different cost drivers of health care,” Polis said.
Although Congress continues to debate the best way to reduce drug prices for the U.S., Polis said, “We know how to do it in Colorado.”
He emphasized the importance of allowing people to “buy prescription drugs in Canada” and “transparency in the marketplace for both providers and drug manufacturers.”
Polis also stressed the importance of working alongside federal agencies. During his time in D.C., he met with the secretary of the Interior and the deputy secretary of Agriculture for the Forest Service, among others.
“We interact daily with the federal government in Colorado, particularly as landowners,” Polis said.
Looking ahead to the rest of his term in office, Polis said, “We’re focused on reducing special-interest tax giveaways and reducing our income tax.” He went on to emphasize the importance of providing free full-day kindergarten for all families.
Two Coloradans, former Gov. John Hickenlooper and current Sen. Michael Bennet, are both rumored to be considering a presidential run in 2020. Yet, Polis avoided addressing the upcoming presidential election.
“I mean, I just got elected and started so I haven’t really thought about the next election,” Polis said.
Liz Weber is a student at American University in Washington, D.C., and an intern for The Durango Herald.